Enhancing visitors’ experience in art museums using mobile technologies
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Mobile technologies are present in our daily life and the functionality of these devices should not be restricted to support phone calls or to organize people’s work. We live in a world of connectivity and mobile devices allow users to access a great variety of resources using IR, Wi-Fi, RFID, Bluetooth, GPS, GPRS, and so on. In particular, PDA and smartphones are being successfully applied to cultural heritages as an alternative to traditional audio-guides. These electronic guides are offered to users in order to make the visit to the exhibition more pleasant and effective. Our research group has been working in the design and development of mobile software for art museums based on PDA for the past four years. During this period two systems were developed. This paper summarizes the basic features of both applications. The first one is currently operating in a real museum. These applications have been designed by applying a user-centered development process and the main goal of these systems is to improve visitors’ satisfaction by using the PDA while visiting the museum. As the result of usability evaluations performed with real users on the first application, the definition, implementation and evaluation of a new system was conceived. Moreover, the paper describes how personalization issues influenced the development of the system. Location-awareness, internationalization, HCI patterns, language adaptation to visitors and accessibility issues were the most important contributions to personalize the application. The final evaluation performed on the system has proved that the main goals initially stated were successfully achieved.
KeywordsMobile devices User centered design Location-awareness HCI patterns Art museums Ubiquitous computing User centered development
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